Eli Lilly and Company
) recently announced the voluntary termination of a mid-stage
study being conducted with its Alzheimer's disease candidate,
LY2886721. LY2886721, a beta secretase (BACE) inhibitor, was
being evaluated as a once daily treatment for Alzheimer's
Eli Lilly's decision was based on abnormal liver biochemical
tests identified during routine monitoring. The company believes
that the abnormal tests were not related to the BACE mechanism
and remains interested in continuing with the development of BACE
inhibitors. Eli Lilly will continue monitoring the patients in
whom the abnormal liver biochemical tests were observed. The
future of the LY2886721 development program will be determined
once the data is evaluated further.
Eli Lilly said that the discontinuation of the phase II study
will result in a financial charge being incurred though the same
is not expected to affect the company's guidance for 2013.
The Alzheimer's disease market has attracted a lot of
attention from several companies. However, the successful
development of therapies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease
is challenging and we note that several companies have failed in
developing treatments for the same. In fact, Eli Lilly has faced
failure before in this field. The company suffered a major
setback in Aug 2010 when it had to halt the development of a
phase III Alzheimer's candidate semagacestat (LY450139).
Then, last year, Eli Lilly had announced that another phase
III candidate, solanezumab, failed to meet its primary endpoint
in studies being conducted in patients with mild-to-moderate
Alzheimer's disease. Development plans for another late-stage
Johnson & Johnson's
) bapineuzumab IV, were shelved after it failed two phase III
studies. The mechanism of action of solanezumab as well as
bapineuzumab IV is different from that of LY2886721.
The Alzheimer's disease market represents huge commercial
potential and a successfully developed product could generate
billions of dollars in sales once launched.
Eli Lilly currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Among
large cap pharma stocks,
) currently looks well-positioned with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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